Christmas Baking… from the non-baker!

If you’ve been following our blog for any amount of time, then you’ve heard me say before that I’m not a baker. And growing up eating all the delicious treats my mom makes means store-bought cookies are never going to satisfy the need for baked treats, especially during the holidays. That means not baking, at least at Christmas time, is not an option.  So, every Christmas I try, often with supervision and assistance from my mom or hubby, to make Christmas cookies.

There are rare occasions when I get it right. My hubby’s favourite cookies are Crinkles. I’d honestly never heard of them before we got together and the first time I made them, we baked them together. They’re delicious! Hard on the outside, soft on the inside… and many, many years later, I can still make them for him (now without assistance). If nothing else, it’s one baked treat my children will get to enjoy year after year. And of course, they’ll be spoiled with grandma’s baking just like I was.

Now, don’t get me wrong, baking is fun. And it’s not the oven that baffles me, in fact, I bake lots of things in the oven (most recently a delicious maple salmon). It’s the damn flour! It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, every time I try to bake it tastes floury. I’ve resolved to the fact that I’m cursed.

My curse may be broken because I’m happy to share that this year… I did it!!!! Three non-flour tasting cookies!

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My mom and I were going to do our baking last weekend but unfortunately my mom wasn’t feeling well. She very thoughtfully decided we would bake independently and then swap cookies so that I didn’t get sick this close to Christmas (especially while pregnant). My hubby was also feeling sick last weekend, seems I was the only one that wasn’t, which meant a day of baking by myself.

My original plans were ambitious, I was going to make five different types of cookies. When I completed three without issue and my back started to ache, I took it as a sign that I’d succeeded for the year.

The recipes I made this year were:

·         Crinkles! As I’ve said, Crinkles are a staple in our house. While I can almost make them without a recipe after all these years, this is the recipe I chose to follow: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chocolate_crinkles/. Just one note that the recipe said that it would make 50 cookies. I like nice big Crinkles so we got about half that (no complaints from us).

·         Italian Christmas Cookies. Mine were no where near as pretty in the picture but these were fun and easy to make. I definitely think I’ll be making these again next year. I found the recipe here: http://cakescottage.com/2015/11/06/italian-christmas-cookies/.

·         Stuffed Cherry Blossom Cookies. I love maraschino cherries. I could probably just sit with a bottle open on the counter and eat them while making other cookies but thought it best to actually use them in a recipe. I loved these cookies. They went in the oven looking like donuts and flattened to snow-covered cookies with a little surprise in the centre. I found the recipe here: https://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2013/02/stuffed-cherry-blossom-sugar-cookies.html

Of the new cookies, the Cherry Blossoms were my favourite. The Italian Christmas Cookies were my hubby’s favourite (after he devoured all the Crinkles of course).

If you’re like me and you’re also not baking-savvy then you can probably sympathize with my concerns and questions of “does this look right?” while getting the ingredients together. I work best with recipes that post pictures of how it’s supposed to look along the way so I can compare.

I tried to take pictures of my projects as I worked on them but often my hands were too dirty to pick up my phone. I’m sort of a child in the kitchen – it always looks like an explosion of ingredients. Somehow, I have ingredients from my hands to my forehead, and sometimes (because I’m clumsy) it finds its way on my clothes down to my feet also.

Here’s what I was able to capture:

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So, what changed this year?

Perhaps baking isn’t as scary as I think it is. I made three different types of cookies, none of which tasted like flour. While I’m not confident enough to go back a cake now, I definitely think I’ll be baking cookies outside of Christmas next year.

But for now, time to return to my favourite part of baking…. Eating!

Kim

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